Monthly Archives: August 2015

Our Weekly Dark Horse Presents (Vol 10)

Our Weekly Dark Horse Presents Volume 10

This issue introduced new stories and brought a favorite back for another episode. However I have mixed feelings regarding this issue overall. 

  
Concrete by Paul Chadwick

As always Concrete is my favorite part of DHP however this chapter wasn’t as strong or moving as previous chapters. It was interesting to see Concrete leap from a plane while still being afraid of what a bear could do to him if enraged, but this one just didn’t convey the same insight into humanity as the others. It was still there just not as subtle and moving. That said it still is a worthy addition and was again the highlight of the comic book. 

  
The Masque by Mark Badger

The Masque was… confusing. Still not entirely sure what happened and I read it twice. However it is the very first installment so I have hopes of sorting it out soon! Artwork was a bit chaotic but very emotive. 

  

Sole Survivors by Randy Stradley and Tony Salmons
Fun one shot story! Not sure if they were attempting to show the pointlessness of warfare but I feel they did show that. Tony Salmons’ artwork is very narrative. You could probably read this one without the words and understand it. It may just be I’m getting more used to his style, but I do think he tells a story with his art. 

  

From My Bookshelf: Armor by John Steakley

Armor by John Steakley has been on my TBR list for the past two decades and this weekend I’ve picked it up #FromMyBookshelf to finally read it! It is a classic of Military SciFi and follows Felix as he leaves a mysterious past to enlist in humanity’s military, put on a futuristic suit of Armor, and fights for mankind amongst the stars.

It gets off to a fast start with the promise of plenty of action to follow.
Here’s hoping it lives up to its promise!   

From My Bookshelf Featuring Curse Of The Mistwraith 

While reorganizing my bookshelves I was reintroduced to so many beautiful books that I wanted to share a few which is also the primary purpose I had when I created my book review website! So I’ll be selecting some books at random from my bookshelves and reviewing (or previewing if I haven’t read it yet) here and on my Instagram (RedStarReviews) with the Category/Title/Hashtag of: From My Bookshelf.  
The first one to share from my bookshelf is this beautiful first edition of Curse Of The Mistwraith by Janny Wurts being the first volume of The Wars Of Light And Shadow. 

 
This book’s cover caught my eye back when it was initially printed and the title captured my imagination. The author poured so much life into her characters and the lands that they inhabit. This book truly is a work of art, with great beauty and sadness within. I remember the first time I read the book caring so deeply for the primary characters and trying to imagine ways for them to be recused from the tragedies that they are faced with. 

This book is one to add to your bookshelf and to enjoy. Janny Wurts is a gifted author. Oh and did I mention that she is also the cover artist? Because she is! 

As a bonus to this review I wanted to share this photo of my book loving puppy helping me to reorganize my bookshelves from the chaotic mess they had become:

  

Our Weekly Dark Horse Presents (Vol 9)

Dark Horse Presents Volume 9

Certain issues of DHP are not my favorites but even then they are still filled with quality work from creators who care deeply about their creation. This is one such issue. 

  
Gene Shock The Vitruvian Man by Steve Mattsson and Art Nichols

I was right. The character is very arrogant and self focused. However if I just became a superhero I’d probably be self focused and arrogant too. Let’s just hope his mind and maturity develop along with the physical side, because as it stands I don’t like him as a person.

  
Roma by John Workman

We discover key points to the plot and mystery of things! Action takes place! This story gives you the feel of an old serial in the comics section of the newspaper. 

  

Fossil by Tony Salmons

Very expressive artwork! Well done telling the story primarily through that art. I did have to read it twice to understand it, but it was fun to do so. 

  

My Cabin Vacation Bookshelf

While on vacation my wife and I stayed in a cabin up on a mountain with gorgeous views of the forest covered mountains around us. That sort of place is what I think of when I think of an ideal reading spot, so of course I brought along my own little mountain of books. 

Like all good vacation cabins the cabin had its own bookshelf providing the vacationer with an assortment of books to read. However the assortment at this cabin was a little limited and didn’t provide a good vacation style mix especially considering the location. 

This led me to consider which books I would expect to find on a vacation cabin bookshelf. Not just a bookshelf of books that I alone would want to read, more a generic vacation spot bookshelf. This was a fun task! 

There were several things I felt one had to consider. First you should have a variety of books, but I think you should lean more towards titles that people have often wanted to read but just haven’t made time for, books that are easy to start reading, enjoy for a short time, and then leave behind. Pleasantly forgettable books that don’t require a lifetime of commitment. Also you want your suspenseful page turners that won’t let you go. Finally I think the best theme for a cabin will always be an adventure theme. 

So in my mind I have created a list of authors whose works I would expect to see upon a cabin’s bookshelf. Again this is quite unlike the books I brought with me for my reading, but I feel these selections would appeal to a wider audience. 

After I came up with my generic list I went through my own bookshelves to create my best Cabin Vacation Bookshelf Photo as seen below. Before you view the generic list or the photos below please take a moment to jot down a few authors you would expect to find while vacationing in a mountain cabin (or maybe a beach condo whichever appeals to you), and then compare our selections! 

My suggestions for a generic and appealing Cabin Vacation Bookshelf would include:

James Clavell, Robert Ludlum, James Michener, Herman Wouk, JRR Tolkien, Ernest Hemingway, Clive Cussler, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Ken Follett, Tom Clancy, Louis L’Amour, and Tana French. I feel that this list would provide a broad appeal and that you should sprinkle in a few classics, local authors, and local geography/places of interest books. 

Now the fun part! I went through my bookshelves and constructed my own Cabin Vacation Bookshelf! This was a lot of fun and really made me think a lot about which books I should select and why I should select them. Some I’ve selected I haven’t even read yet, but feel the setting would be perfect. Some are visually appealing. Some are just fun adventure! Some are very easy to read. Some are challenging but rewarding. I’ve listed each book and my reasoning for it below the following photos. Here without further ado is my 49 book Cabin Vacation Bookshelf Collection:

   
  

  
 1) Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons because having one of the greatest comic books ever created available to read is a great bonus. 

2) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card as it is one of the preeminent YA Military SciFi books ever. 

3) Mystic River by Dennis Lehane since every shelf should have a notable Mystery on it.

4) The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie as he tells great adventure tales and creates page turners. This is one of his I haven’t read yet and look forward to. 

5) Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer as this provides a perfectly eerie read for any night out in nature. 

6/7) Louis L’Amour because you really can’t go wrong with his work. Quality storytelling, solid adventures, good as standalone books or read in series. 

8) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy because Classics. Also it has the appeal of being a book one often wants to read but never makes time for. 

9) 1984 by George Orwell because it is a Classic and also because while you’re away from the city and the government you can sit back and think….

10) The Last Of The Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper because it is one of the most classical US adventure stories written. At least that is what I hear! 

11) The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien because any bookshelf is incomplete without Tolkien and this is one of his best and most accessible works. Perfect for a soul to enjoy while enjoying nature. 

12) Soldier, Ask Not by Gordon R. Dickson a classical adventure military SciFi that will provide you entertainment while making you think. 

13) Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift as it is a perfect classic for readers of various ages. 

14) Black Earth by Andrew Meier is a history of modern Russia and would appeal to the nonfiction crowd. 

15) The Likeness by Tana French as a good mystery/thriller is needed. 

16) Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone because it is magical, and young readers can grow with the series while older readers can enjoy the series. 

17/18/19) Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Series because you’re wondering are they like the movies? Are they as good as the movies? Maybe even BETTER than the movies? 

20) Republic by Plato a touch of philosophy might be needed. 

21) Leaves Of Grass by Walt Whitman because while I’m not a poetry reader I love Whitman’s work. 

22/23) Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe Series and Saxon Tales Series because there should be some quality Historical Fiction on the shelf and this is some of the finest quality HF you’ll find. 

24) The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell because not only will this open up mythology for you like never before you’ll also get a chance to visit the well of inspiration that so many creators have visited. 

25) Conan The Barbarian by Robert E Howard as it is one of the greatest pulp fantasy adventure stories ever. Time to visit the source of all of these movies and books and get it from the creator. 

26) Firebird by Jack McDevitt any Alex Benedict novel will do here. Great series of standalone works. Best read together but fulfilling SciFi Adventure Archeology Mystery stories! 

27/28) Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books. Great books. Espionage at its finest. 

29) My Friend The Mercenary by James Brabazon because an adventurous memoir is perfect for a vacation read. 

30/31/32) James Clavell’s excellent Asian Saga has it all. Romance. History. Adventure. And you’ve been meaning to read it for ages!

33) In The Lake Of The Woods by Tim O’Brien belongs here (as would any book by him) because the haunting beauty of his work will provide a story that stays with you for years to come. 

34) Kingdoms Of The Wall by Robert Silverberg is a fine coming of age SciFi that will challenge the reader to the core. 

35) American Gods by Neil Gaiman in which the author truly captures a part of American Culture and tells an incredible story. 

36) The Stand by Stephen King because sometimes the only book that should be read is a Stephen King book. 

37) Fall Of Giants by Ken Follett explore the American Century with one of the greatest historical fiction writers ever. 

38) Poland by James Michener if you truly want to understand a place and the people that call that place home you read Michener. 

39) Dune by Frank Herbert an adventurous coming of age take that will alter your worldview. Perhaps my favorite author. 

40) The Magic Engineer by L.E. Modesitt Jr I could almost use the exact same words to describe this book and author as I did for Dune. Very high praise and well deserved. 

41) Old Man’s War by John Scalzi belongs in the company of Haldeman and Heinlein. 

42) The Forever War by Joe Haldeman is a timeless Military SciFi that will reach into your heart and pull out an emotional response. 

43) The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams because it is one of the greatest works of fantasy and an excellent adventure to read. 

44) Ship Of Fools by Richard Paul Russo because I really want all of my reader friends to read this book! A SciFi/Horror that for me captures the intensity and emotions of the first time you watched the original Alien movie. 

45) Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein is the standard by which all Military SciFi should be judged. Such an excellent book!

46/47) David and Leigh Eddings’ Belgarath The Sorcerer is an excellent multigenerational Fantasy story and The Belgariad is an incredible adventure that all should read. 

48) The Eye Of The World by Robert Jordan has something for everyone.

49) A Game Of Thrones by George RR Martin because it is some of the best literature being written in our time.  

That completes my Cabin Vacation Bookshelf! I’d love to hear what books you would select for yours!